Consistency over the two days!
That’s the message from Post Office Hotel Wairarapa coach Mark Childs leading into this weekend’s second-round match in the Furlong Cup [Hawke Cup zone two elimination series] against Manawatu at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval.
Wairarapa showed some encouraging signs in their first-innings loss to Taranaki three weeks ago but were let down with a late-order batting collapse, losing their last five wickets for six runs when they were well-placed at 231–5 to push on for a big score. They then failed to take their chances in the field, allowing Taranaki to build a big first innings lead, and then slumped to 63–8 in their second dig before Jeremy Anderson [74no] and Jack Wakeling [24no] saved their blushes with an unbeaten 79–run stand.
“Against Taranaki, we played really well for periods of that match – three out of the six sessions – but you only need one bad session, and the game slips away, so it’s about being more consistent over the two days, and when we’ve got a team in trouble, we just really need to nail them and be a bit more ruthless,” Mark Childs said.
That starts at the top of the order, and Mark Childs is demanding more from the likes of Taylor Bettelhiem, Jake Jonas, and Jaco Vorster if he passes a fitness test after he twisted an ankle at training on Tuesday night.
“We didn’t get any runs out of Taylor, Jake or Jaco last time, so they’ll be hungry for runs, and hopefully, that top order can lay us a good platform; we don’t want to rely on the middle to lower order, so we need to get some runs up the top.”
Mark Childs has high hopes that loan player Bettelheim will fire after the former Bay of Plenty representative underlined his class with 47 and 169 on debut for Central Districts A in their seven-wicket win over Wellington A.
Jonas is also capable of occupying the crease for long periods, while Vorster can score big runs quickly. Should Vorster fail his fitness test, Ethan Childs could make an earlier-than-expected return from injury. Mark Childs is reluctant to throw the all-rounder back into the action too quickly, and although he can bowl, and his extra pace and bounce would be useful, his lingering shoulder injury occurred when he was batting.
The only changes from the side that travelled to New Plymouth are all-rounders Gus Borren and George Deans. Their selection only adds to an already useful medium-pace attack, including Rathkeale’s James Church, who has impressed Mark Childs with his accuracy and must have gone close to selection for Central Districts Under-19, although the selectors may have opted for variety by choosing a left-arm seamer in schoolmate Angus Jaspers.
The spinning duties will fall to left-arm orthodox Quinn Childs, who could also be a valuable asset in the middle-lower order, having highlighted his batting potential with half-centuries in the last two Bidwill Cup premier championship games, and Bettelheim, a more than useful leg spinner.
Mark Childs is under no illusion of the challenge posed by Manawatu, one of the powerhouses of Central Districts cricket, saying it will be another step up from Taranaki and Wairarapa will need to “be close to our best for much of the game” to cause an upset.
“Batting wise, they’re probably not as strong as they were last season when they had a ridiculously strong batting lineup, but they’ve still got the likes of Trent McGrath and those types of players, and Bevan Small, who can quickly change a game,” he said.
“They’re a quality side, and we’re looking forward to playing at home and getting a few spectators down there.”
The match will also be a first for Wairarapa umpire Dean Goodin, who will make his Furlong Cup debut.
Play is scheduled to get underway at 10.30 am tomorrow and Sunday at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval.
to play Manawatu:
Robbie Anderson [captain], Taylor Bettelheim, Jake Jonas, Jeremy Anderson, Jaco Vorster [subject to fitness], Gus Borren, Samuel Payne, Nathan Elliott [wk], Quinn Childs, Jack Wakeling, George Deans, James Church